July 15, 2022
The USSSA Pride completed a three-game road series against the Smash It Sports Vipers in front of record crowds at historic Bosse Field, filming site of the movie, “A League of Their Own”. The Pride were defeated 4-1 by the Vipers on opening night but bounced back on the second and third nights to win by run rule, 10-2 and 9-0. Thousands of youth softball players from all over the country competing in the USSSA Great Lakes Nationals had the opportunity to attend the series, leading to record crowds and an incredible atmosphere.
Playing the series at Bosse Field provided an incredible opportunity to showcase fastpitch softball at the highest level on a field that holds great significance to the development of women’s sports. Throughout the three nights, the Women’s Professional Fastpitch teams were met by a combined 7,500 fans, with some fans traveling to Evansville from as far as New Jersey The series was hosted by the Evansville Sports Corporation in partnership with the Evansville Otters, and the local hosts did everything possible to roll out of the red carpet for players and fans.
Don DeDonatis III, CEO of USSSA was able to attend and share his perspective about the series. “For the second year in a row the Evansville Sports Corporation and Evansville Otters staff and facility provided our professional athletes an incredible experience to compete and showcase Women’s Professional Fastpitch. The consistency in their group’s organization, accommodations, and ability to adapt when necessary is one of the many reasons we value our partnership.”
The host community worked hard to engage both the local community and visiting fans. Each evening began with special guests performing the National Anthem and throwing out ceremonial first pitches. On the final night, Tensley Dunlap was given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. She was supposed to play in the Great Lakes Nationals but suffered an injury in the weeks leading up to it preventing her from competing. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the series throwing out the first pitch with her opposite arm.
Teams participating in the Great Lakes Nationals were given the opportunity to walk out on the field with the Pride and Vipers during team introductions. During each game, fans were given the opportunity to participate in on-field contests between innings, winning USSSA Pride gear and other fun prizes. And a player and fan favorite was the light show illuminating the field every time a home run was hit. After each game, players and fans experienced an impressive fireworks display and had the opportunity to meet the Pride and the Vipers in an autograph and photo-op session. Events like these would not be possible without the incredible support from the youth softball community.
“The USSSA Pride and Evansville Sports Corporation partnership was formed for the purpose of providing a visible stage for female athletes to play the sport they love in an electric atmosphere. From the youth levels in their National Championship event to the professional athletes in their WPF series, an electrifying atmosphere it was! The experience provided and phenomenal turnout in fan attendance is a direct reflection of the support within the community of Evansville. We appreciate the genuine hospitality and look forward to more opportunities to partner in the near future.” – Don DeDonatis III